August 9, 2020

Three Types of Professor: A Field Guide

posted on: Thursday September 23, 2010

by Kerry Vaughan ’12 / Commentary Staff

With the economy as it is today, the job market is not nearly as welcoming as it used to be. That being said, staying in school for as long as possible to delay entrance into the real world doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Of course, it certainly is an expensive one. Not to mention, trading years in the real world for years in a classroom can have some interesting results. Five days a week, countless hours a day, we spend some quality time with those who chose the long, pricey path of higher education. Professors come from across the globe in all shapes and sizes with one common goal: to mold our young minds. No matter what your major, everyone is bound to encounter a professor they can’t quite understand. So I give you a brief classification of the ever-elusive professor.

Professor Ph.D.

If you replace the letters “p” and “h” in Ph.D. with “g” and “o,” you spell GOD. It seems as though most Ph.D. program professors make it a point to share this with their doctoral-bound students, and thus, most professors take on their divine role as educators quite seriously. This, in turn, forces undergraduate students to combat with the vicious wrath of collegiate narcissism. Of course, there are worse things in life, like a professor with a Ph.D. who is rather short in stature. Just imagine how the Battle of Waterloo could have gone for Napoleon had he been Dr. Napoleon Bonaparte. If you’re facing a Napoleonic and Ph.D. complex—good luck.

Professor Ambien

Sleep is a hard commodity to come by as a college student. Fortunately, there exists a species of professor that allows you to catch up on sleep — in class, that is. You’ll find that when it comes to getting your eight hours, some of your professors can be just as effective as taking an Ambien. They’ll say things like “to make a long story short,” and then proceed to talk in circles, inevitably rambling on, each word gently lulling you further into a coma. Perhaps they should disclose on the syllabus: Consult your doctor before beginning this class. Do not operate heavy machinery during/after class. Be sure you are able to devote at least eight hours of sleep following the lecture.

Professor Tech

At least one of your professors this fall will cause your PC Prints fund to run dry mid-semester. Whether it be assigning long reading assignments on ANGEL or overdone power-points, some professors prove that technology is not man’s best friend. For instance, professors armed with laser pointers can be dangerous. Some abuse them so much that a simple presentation can turn into a light show with the potential to induce seizure. We can only hope that the laser pointer will succumb to the same perilous fate that the 8-track and VCR met (though I fear envisioning what it will be replaced with).

Come December, when your professors are surrounded by a mound of blue books and are racing against the clock to get grades in before the holidays, it helps if they can put a face to a name. It’s not a bad idea to introduce yourself, go to office hours, participate in class, and ask questions. Let them know you’re putting the effort into their class; it can only work toward your benefit. Sure, some may seem a little arrogant, unreasonably demanding, or maybe even a little out of touch with reality, but most of the professors here at PC are pretty interesting people. If you can acknowledge and appreciate the passion they have for their areas of expertise, you’re on your way to making your learning experience at PC the best it can be.

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